November 26, 2011, 7:59 pm
Filed under: Uncategorized

Turkey day has come and gone.  I hope your family was not too obnoxious! My in-laws (and their pet squirrel!) decided NOT to grace us with their presence. It felt like Christmas came early at my house!  They decided they would rather have their Thanksgiving at Golden Corral and spend the night at the beach so they could go to a slightly less busy Walmart at midnight.  More power to ’em because at midnight I was cozy in my own bed! Just so you can understand just how crazy these people are, I feel the need to share a story.

Picture it, April 2004.  I’m getting married!  First hitch of the day, my DJ forgets the CD with all my music and my bridesmaids have to go search guests cars to find my very non-traditional wedding music.  After that things went well until the stupid DJ guy says “hey, most of the guests are leaving, can I go, too?” For some reason my crazy mother in law still paid the stupid DJ his entire price.  Not sure why, but hey, it’s her money.  Time to cut the cake, and I tell my mom that it’s fine to cut the top layer, even though it is traditionally saved and frozen for the 1 yr anniversary.  This is because our baker makes you another (fresh!)  one for the anniversary. Awesome. Well, it turns out it’s not necessary to use it, so my mom gives it to my MIL, thinking that she will take it home and freeze it for us since she lives closer (and does not cook, so obviously has room in her freezer.)

Fast forward a week and we’re back from our honeymoon.  I ask my MIL for the cake, so we can transfer it to our freezer. She tells me it’s gone.  I’m very confused at this point and ask her if my mom sent it home with her.  She says “yes, she did, but I took it to Bojangles for the workers to eat. I invited them all to your wedding but they couldn’t come.”  My wedding cake.  Seriously. I don’t even KNOW these people.  She does because they eat there every. single. day.

So if the fact that they have a pet squirrel living in their house did not prove the craziness, perhaps this has helped to illustrate my point. I’m sure as this blog progresses, I’ll have many, many more stories of insanity.

So, since there were less people at dinner, we had more leftovers.  Since my gastric bypass, leftovers and I do not always get along.  Especially dry leftovers like turkey or chicken seem to be. I had to come up with SOMETHING to do with all this food, though, so I altered a recipe for Broccoli and Quinoa casserole. Enjoy!


Turkey, Broccoli, and Quinoa Bake

2 cups leftover chicken or turkey, shredded

2 cups frozen broccoli, defrosted (or you can use leftover cooked broccoli) cut into small pieces

1 1/2 cups dry quinoa, cooked according to package instructions

1 cups shredded sharp cheddar (can use low fat,) plus an additional 1/2 cup for the topping

1/4 cup grated parmesan cheese

1/4 cup shredded italian blend cheese (There was mozerella, parmesan, and asiago in the bag I used.  If you don’t have this you can use additional cheddar if you’d like)

salt and pepper to taste

dehydrated onion flakes, garlic salt (also can use fresh of both, this is just what I had on hand)

Mix everything together and place in baking dish.  Sprinkle top with additional cheese and bake at 375 for about 15 minutes, until cheese on top is melted.

This was moist enough that I had no problem eating it.  However, I asked my poor cooking-challenged husband to salt the quinoa and he salted it like he’d salt pasta water.  It tasted great-but was way too salty.  Don’t let your husband use the salt and it’ll be yummy!


Turkey Time!
November 18, 2011, 4:52 pm
Filed under: Uncategorized

Yup.  No matter how much we want to avoid it, short of moving to another country, you can’t.  Thanksgiving is almost here.  In my house that means dealing with family members I don’t particularly like and answering their questions about my gastric bypass.  Don’t get me wrong, most of the time I don’t mind answering people’s questions, but it’s different when it’s your family. I despise smiling and pretending that I give a crap about their latest diet and how nice it must be that I had surgery because they are struggling SO much with their weight. No matter what they think it was not the “easy” way to do things.  Then there is the “oh…should you be eating that?”  question.  That one is really fun, too.  This year I also get to have dinner with my inlaws.  My mother in law had gastric bypass surgery about a year before I did and has done very well with her weight loss, but she is the LAST person to ask me if I should be eating something.  Since my husband was a kid they have eaten fast food, 3 meals a day, EVERY day.  Not so much as a sandwich at home.  Their stove was never even plugged in.  You would think after her bypass she would have made an effort to change things.  Nope.  Still fast food all day every day.  Her idea of a protein rich meal is a baked potato at Wendy’s with a sprinkle of cheese. She once told me that the best part of this surgery was that the doctor told her she “never had to eat another salad as long as she lived.”  Isn’t that lovely?  Needless to say, we did NOT have the same surgeon.  I married into this!  No wonder no matter what I cook, the biggest compliment it gets is “pretty good.”  His poor tastebuds have been burned off by an abundance of salt!

So, pre-op, at 315lbs, I managed to deal with my family with food.  It’s hard to talk to the crazy people when there is food in your mouth.  Now, it’s a little harder.  The thing is, I’m big on moderation.  If I deprive myself, I’m just going to make up for it later. So I eat turkey, gravy, stuffing, and a bite of anything else that sounds yummy!  It’s one day a year and as long as I don’t make it every day, I have no problem with eating things that I usually avoid. My biggest issue is dessert.  Mmmmm…who doesn’t love all the sweets on Thanksgiving??  The best way I’ve found to deal with that is to make sure there is something I can indulge in and other people actually like as well.  The best part is when they ask if I “should be eating that” and I say “yup” and take a big ‘ol bite.  Pumpkin pie has always been a favorite, so I was determined to find a recipe I could make work for me. Besides, pumpkin can be hard to find around here except around the holidays, and last year when I asked my husband to get me a “couple” cans, he came home with 15.  No joke.  15.  He knew I’d have trouble finding it later and was trying to be sweet, but where in the hell do you store all that pumpkin?!  It is currently piled up on the floor of my pantry as I SLOWLY work my way trough it.  Needless to say, I won’t be sending him out for pumpkin again this year.  But to use of some of my supply, this is an awesome recipe that I’ve altered to be WLS friendly.  It’s also another crockpot recipe, which is so nice, because you don’t have to think about it while you’re worrying with the rest of the goodies.



Crock Pot Pumpkin Pudding

1 15oz can pumpkin (NOT pie filling!)

1 12oz can evaporate milk

3/4 cup Whey Low (my preferred sugar substitute.  You could also try Splenda)

1/2 cup Carbquick (this is a low carb Bisquick replacement.  If you don’t mind a few more carbs, Bisquick works great.)

2 eggs

2 tablespoons melted butter

2-3 teaspoons pumpkin pie spice

2 teaspoons vanilla

Mix all ingredients together and place in greased crock pot. Cook on low for approx 6 hours.  Serve with sugar free whipped cream if you’d like.

So I lied…
November 12, 2011, 6:47 pm
Filed under: Uncategorized

I said I was going to review Quest Protein bars, but I changed my mind. Other blogs have reviewed them and I really agree pretty well with their reviews, so why waste a post to say it all over again? So, in short, they’re tasty. Let’s move on.

I *heart* Mexican food.  Before surgery that meant going to the restaurant where they would bring me basket after basket of warm chips and my husband and I would order a large cheese dip. Then whatever I ordered I made sure it had rice (no beans!) and lots more cheese. Even when I was done eating, if there were still chips there I was going to keep nibbling them until we left.  We had Mexican 1-2 times a week and we both always left in a state of pure misery. You know that feeling?  That I’m-so-stuffed-I-can-barely-breath-and-I-want-to-unbutton-my-pants-so-let-me-hurry-and-get-to-my-car feeling?  Yeah.  THAT one.

Now…there is nothing wrong with Mexican food, I’ve just “adjusted” a bit.  I almost never eat in so I can avoid that warm chip temptation.  I also order strange things that aren’t even on the menu.  It drives my poor husband insane.  Our last take out experience went a little like this:

Hubby calling on the way home from work: “How about Mexican food for dinner?”

Me: “Okay. I think I want some shredded chicken-you know the kind they put in the quesadillas, but NOT in a tortilla, just the chicken, and then have them put some cheese on it and brown it up and maybe a side of beans.”

Hubby: “Seriously?”

Me: “Yeah…what?”

Hubby: “You want to make something up that doesn’t exist on the menu and is slightly complicated, and you want me to order it in a restaurant where most of the staff does NOT SPEAK ENGLISH?!”

Me: “Yup.  See you when you get home.”

Sadly, take-out is no longer a frequent experience with us because my poor husband is afraid of my order. First I mourned the loss of my favorite fatty, carb-y foods…then I had to mourn the loss of Mexican food all together.  I was so very sad until I found (and slightly modified) a recipe that made life all rainbows and unicorns again!

So, try this one and I promise you won’t miss the 349384723 deep fried tortilla chips. Okay…maybe you’ll miss them a little bit. Sprinkle on some extra cheese to soak up your tears and you’ll be fine.


Mexican Crock Pot Chicken

Chicken breast tenderloins (I think we used around 12, whatever makes about a pound)

1 large jar of salsa (any strength.  At my house we compromise and go for medium.  My husband still has not grasped the fact that I do not drink and eat at the same time!  Spicy=sad tongue)

1 bag of frozen corn, thawed (you can do this in the microwave) with all the excess liquid drained out.  (You can aslo use canned corn, but it is so full of sodium, especially when you already have the salsa, that I like to rinse it off if I use it)

1 can black beans, rinsed and drained

minced garlic and onion (optional, but we like them)

Also optional, but pretty tasty, you can chop up an 8oz block of cream cheese into small pieces and mix it in, just make sure to stir it up in an hour or so after it melts to incorporate it in

Mix it all together and place in a crock pot for 6ish hours on low. When it’s cooked through, take the chicken out and shred it up with 2 forks (Or I have this handy-dandy salad chopper thingy I got from Pampered Chef that chops up chicken excellently) Place it back in the crock pot and mix back in.

Serve as it topped with shredded cheese and sour cream (Or I use greek yogurt as a sour cream alternative.  Tastes pretty similar and has a protein boost!) You can also serve in a low carb tortilla.  If you have non-ops in the house, they may also like this over chips like nachos.

My husband actually loves this recipe, so it’s now in our “usual” pile.  I have a hard time finding things he likes.  Even when he loves something it’s “Pretty good.”  If he hates it “it’s okay.”  We have been married 7 years and for the first couple I thought I was a horrible cook.  It led to way too many fights after I cooked what I thought was an awesome dinner and it was “pretty good.”  I’m glad to say I finally speak Daryl.

Hope you enjoy it!



Should We Eat That?
November 7, 2011, 7:51 pm
Filed under: Uncategorized

How many times as post-ops have we heard that? From other post-ops, from pre-ops, from our family in that concerned voice (You know what I mean.  “Honey…should you eat that?” accompanied by that disapproving look that used to come along with a different phrase, like “are you eating ANOTHER slice of cake?) My father is the one exception to the “concerned family” rule.  Not that he isn’t concerned, because he very much is, but he is certain that if I lose another pound I will be skin and bones.  I have lost 130lbs, but at 5’6″, I’m still a nice, still-too-chunky 180ish pounds.  No chance of withering away. I guess he’s so used to seeing me as a large girl he can’t stand to see me at a more “normal” size.  He is constantly trying to feed me when I’m there.  Very few things make me sick, but the only thing I’ve found that discourages him is if I say it will make me sick. Dad- “Jes, don’t you want a slice of pizza/cake/pie/etc.”  Me-“No thanks, it will make me vomit uncontrollably.  Maybe for hours.”  Dad-“Oh. Okay then.”  It works for me.  What also works is if I bring my own desserts so he can think I’m eating all the junk he wants me to eat. And there you have the first bit of inspiration for this blog.

I don’t pretend to know all the answers, but the truth is I’m bored.  I had foot surgery less than a week ago and the good news is that the pain is much better so I’m no longer in a percocet haze.  The bad news is I’m no longer in the percocet haze. I’m also not allowed to bear weight at the moment (I have an oh-so-glamorous knee scooter.  I know you’re jealous. I’ll post a picture once I get the streamers for my handlebars.) I can’t go back to work for 4-6 weeks and as a nurse I’m used to being busy.  One can only hit “refresh” on facebook so many times before they go completely insane.  My husband may divorce me if I force him to talk about his entire day for hours when he finally gets home. I can’t even walk to the freaking mailbox to get the mail, which would at least provide me with 5 solid minutes of entertainment. So…a blog is my next bright idea!  I love to cook, especially when baking is involved and I’ve had a lot of fun recreating recipes to make them WLS friendly. Why not share with my friends. If you’re making a recipe I’ve posted or a product I’ve tried and reviewed you don’t have to ask “should I eat that?” I won’t promise that they are all low fat or low calorie.  I will promise I’ve done my best to make them WLS friendly and that I think they’re tasty or I wouldn’t post them!

So, here’s recipe #1.

Cheesecake bites

two 8oz packages of cream cheese, softened (you can use reduced fat or a combo of reduced fat and regular.  I have not tried this with fat free because, well, it tastes like dirty feet and it is not something I wish to make myself eat just to save a little fat and calories.  This is dessert.  Don’t eat 46 of them and you’ll be fine.

2 eggs

vanilla extract (around a teaspoon.  I don’t measure things like that.  I blame my mother)

1 cup of whey-low (May be able to use liquid or powdered spenda sucessfully, but I like the way whey-low bakes like sugar. If you try it, let me know how it turns out!)

Mix all of the above together well and put into greased or lined muffin or mini muffin pans. You can use the mixture as is or pour it over any crust of your choice–you can use sugar free vanilla wafers or Joseph’s sugar free cookies or brownies (a brownie crust is tasty.  You can also add a little coco powder or melted bittersweet chocolate into the above mixture and make chocolate cheesecakes.  Nom Nom Nom)  in the bottom of the muffin pan.  If you don’t mind a little sugar you can crush graham crackers and blend with melted butter and push into the bottom of the muffin tins.  Completely your choice!

Bake at 350 for about 20 minutes or until they just start to solidify and they may turn slightly brown on top. They will puff up a little and then deflate when they are cooled.

You can serve them as is, or you can take a little sugar free jam (I like raspberry or strawberry) and warm it in the microwave with a bit of splenda or whey low until it is liquid-y. I drizzle a little on top, and you can even add a little fresh raspberry too if you want them to be all fancy and stuff. 🙂

Even my non-op and extremely picky husband loves these.  Of course, I don’t tell him they are WLS friendly until after he’s stuffed his face with them because that would just ruin it.  It amuses me to take things like this to work and watch them disappear, and THEN tell people why they were better for them than those lemon cream cupcakes I used to bring in. Does that make me evil?

I also want to post the occasional review of a product, especially when they are marketed to us WLS folks, so next post will be about Quest Protein Bars!